Posted by: bishopae | September 9, 2014

CyPix: Driver training in the 1930s

When cars began replacing carriages on American roads in the early 20th century, there was no formal system for educating new drivers, and, not surprisingly, the accident rate was high. A. R. Lauer was an Associate Professor in Psychology, who came to Iowa State College (University) in 1930 and performed research on driving safety. By the mid-1930s, Lauer was involved in cooperative work with the Motor Vehicle Department for the State of Iowa.

Nine students sit in individual dummy cars (with steering wheels and controls but no wheels) in a large classroom, while a teacher lectures from the front of the classroom pointing to a projected image of a car.

Students in driver training course sitting in dummy cars while a teacher lectures at the front of the classroom, 1938. University Photo Collection, Box 781.

In 1938, ISC’s President Charles E. Friley requested that the Psychology Department begin a driver education program for future teachers of driver’s training classes in public schools, and the program quickly became in high demand. Both the research and the training programs had a definite impact on the safety of Iowa roads. The following chart from Lauer’s report, Development of the driver education and research program at Iowa State College, shows a clear downward trend in the number of fatalities on Iowa highways from 1935 through 1955:

Line graph showing a clear downward trend in fatalities in Iowa from 1935 throug 1955.

Chart showing “Trend in Fatality Rates for Iowa” from A.R. Lauer’s report.

 

Posted by: Whitney | September 5, 2014

Anson Marston Collection Update

In the time since we celebrated Anson Marston’s 150th birthday in May, another box of materials has been added to his collection, RS 11/1/11. These materials include certificates awarded to Marston, Cornell University class reunion booklets with a photo, news clippings, a booklet of letters Marston sent to his wife from Panama and Nicaragua, military correspondence, and an Iowa State Highway Commission bulletin featuring Marston. Let’s take a closer look at some of these materials.

Cornell Class Reunions

A photo of the engineers of the Class of 1889, Cornell University. RS 11/1/11, box 15, folder 2.

A photo of the engineers of the Class of 1889, Cornell University. RS 11/1/11, box 15, folder 2.

Among the added materials are programs from Marston’s 20 and 25-year Cornell University class reunions, as well as a Class of 1889 photo. In both the 20-year and 25-year programs, he’s listed as working at the University of Iowa in Ames, Iowa. Blasphemy! Of course, it should be listed as “Iowa State College,” since he never worked at the University of Iowa (or “State University of Iowa” as it was also called then). Aside from this, both programs give a brief synopsis of what Marston was doing with his life: serving as “Dean of the Engineering College,” which is also not entirely accurate, as it was a department at the time, not a college.

It seems that by the 25-year reunion, the class secretary was having some trouble recruiting attendees and submissions for the programs. The foreword for the 25-year book reads as follows:

“For the third time, the Secretary has levied toll on the members, of the class of ’89, Cornell University, holding them up at the point of his pen and forcing them to divulge their guilty secrets, to open their skeleton closets for the kindly interest and inspection of the rest of the class. This time, the 25th anniversary of our graduation, seemed to demand an unusual effort in trying to follow the suggestion made at the reunion dinner, that the book should contain photographs of the members, the secretary found abundant opportunity for effort. The following pages show the results and for the interest they may have, the members themselves are responsible. Some of the class apparently are timid; some, modest; and some, ashamed; but they are all members of ’89 and the only regret of the secretary is that there are so many blank records, which he could fill, neither by coaxing, lamenting nor demanding. The rest of the class are the real losers by what must be considered, mistaken sensibilities on the part of a few.”

At least Marston was not one of the “timid,” “modest,” or “ashamed,” as both his photo and a description are included in that program.

Letters from Panama and Nicaragua

A hand-tinted photostat copy of the original caricature of Anson Marston by J. Zavala Urtecho,1931. RS 11/1/11, box 15, folder 4.

A hand-tinted photostat copy of the original caricature of Anson Marston by J. Zavala Urtecho,1931. From Granada, Nicaragua. RS 11/1/11, box 15, folder 4.

A booklet of letters from Marston to his wife cover his travels to and from Panama and Nicaragua from January to March 1931. He traveled there as a member of the United States Army Interoceanic Canal Board, which was assigned to investigate the possibility of building a canal through Nicaragua. The letters discuss happenings, descriptions of the ship and its surroundings, people met, as well as an account of tragedy. An excerpt from a February 26, 1931, letter that Marston wrote in Balboa at the Tivoli Hotel, reads as follows:

“It seems good to get back into a real hotel, although all the trip has been so wonderful.

To day [sic] we went through Culebra Cut in a government tug. Tomorrow evening we are to attend a smoker given by the local section of A.S.C.E. Saturday night the Ames people have a dinner for me.

I like Gen. and Mrs. Jadwin very much. We have just been dining together here at the hotel which is on American territory and therefore is dry, while so many go ‘across the line’ into Panama City to dine.”

From Tuesday, March 3, 1931:

“I have spent the day at Gatun Locks and on the Atlantic side calling on Mrs. Jadwin on the transport at San Mihiel, on which she and the body of Gen. Jadwin are sailing for New York to night [sic]. What a terrible experience for her! She and Gen. Jadwin were just about our ages and are much our kind of people. We have been eating at the same reserved table here and I have been getting really acquainted with two very fine people. He has been telling me his plans for an active future and she of their plans for travel together. Their two sons are grown.”

How sad! General Jadwin had been feeling a bit ill the previous two days, and it turned out that he had a small stroke but was expected to survive. Instead, he passed away around 5 p.m. on Monday, March 2nd, of a “large cerebral hemorrhage.” A copy of a letter to Marston from Mrs. Jadwin is included in the back of the booklet, part of which reads:

“I have had many years of sweet companionship with him and I shall try to be brave, as he always was and carry on as he would have me do.”

Aside from this tragedy, Marston’s trip seems to have been a success and quite enjoyable. Apparently, he was very popular too. This excerpt of a letter from R. Z. Kirkpatrick to Mrs. Marston from March 7, 1931, sums up his likeability:

“My Dear Mrs. Marston,

There goes forward to your address today one Dean; we hope he arrives in as good order as he was when he was shipped.

His behavior here has been excellent; while it was all wrong that you weren’t along I really think that he will have little to explain away maritally. At that I think every AMES-MAN here had my experience – – our wives fell in love with your husband; you can easily understand why, from personal experience.”

Letters from World War I

The first page of a letter from Marston to his wife, Alice, 1918. RS 11/1/11, box 15, folder 6.

The first page of a letter from Marston to his wife, Alice, 1918. RS 11/1/11, box 15, folder 6.

Perhaps the most interesting of Marston’s military letters involve his time serving during World War I. How appropriate, considering that this year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Great War! Marston was a member of the 109th Engineers, which were stationed in Camp Dix, New Jersey in 1918. In his letter of September 6, 1918, he writes the following:

“I resent being left behind with every fiber and I am not concealing this attitude from [Colonel D.] in the least. Of course I can do nothing but obey the order (when it comes) but I do not want any one in this regiment or in the Dir. staff to think that it is with any least consent of mine that I am being left behind my men.”

Colonel D., whoever that is, had recommended Marston to be promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel, and a major was likely to go over to France, preventing Marston from fighting in Europe.

At some point in the fall of 1918, Marston left the 109th and by December was stationed at Camp Leach, Washington, D.C. In his letter of December 2nd, he has changed his tune a bit about being left out of the fighting overseas:

“The U.S. casualties in France when compared with the number of Infantry we had on the actual fighting line show that an infantry-man on the front for 4 mos had a very slim chance of escaping. It was evidently mostly a question of getting wounded or killed.”

If this is the battle I think it is, he was very fortunate indeed to not have been sent over. The casualties in France mentioned were likely part of the Meuse Argonne Offensive, particularly in mid-October. The timing is right, and the US army suffered heavy casualties at that time and place. More information on the Offensive can be found here, a great jumping off point for more research for those interested.

Believe it or not, there is much more where this came from, so stop by and see what the whole collection has to offer!

Posted by: Stephanie | September 2, 2014

CyPix: Ready for Cyclones Football

Football season kicked off in Ames this weekend! This time of year centers around the athletic prowess on the field, of course, but I always enjoy the full experience of game day – tailgating with friends and family, cheerleaders and dance teams, the music and pomp of halftime shows, and of course cheering in the stands. Below, these fans from 1959 demonstrate some Cyclone spirit at the Homecoming game that year. Glad we are still enjoying summer and don’t have to get out the fur-lined collars… yet.

Homecoming, 1959

A roaring crowd at the 1959 Homecoming game in Ames. Click the image to see a larger size

Special Collections and University Archives is home to a number of football-related collections and objects; this more detailed post talks about our holdings, and you can always search our website or come visit our Reading Room to uncover information about a specific player, coach, year, or mascot. In the meantime – go Cyclones!

Posted by: Kim | August 29, 2014

100 Years Since the Great War

If there had been any doubt as to the advisability of the creation of the Land Grant institutions, that doubt was destroyed for all time by the Great War. – War Records Committee. “A Short History of Iowa State College in the World War.” (RS 13/16/1, box 2 folder 1)

World War I began in the summer of 1914 and ended in 1919. The United States joined on April 6, 1917 with a declaration of war on Germany. When the United States joined it had a standing army of 133,000. By early June 1917 approximately 9.5 million men had registered for service.

114,000 Iowans enlisted and Iowa State students, staff, faculty, trainees, and alumni formed around 6000 of those serving in World War I.

ServiceFlagDedication_RS13_16_1_Box1Folder1_web

A service flag dedication in State Gym for 1500 active duty students and alumni, ca. 1918. (RS 13/16/1 box 1, folder 1)

Training Specialists for the War Effort

Iowa State University responded by providing space, expertise, and infrastructure for training soldiers in a number of areas the largest being infantry, engineering, artillery, aviation, and “special.” The majority of these were men, but 29 women from Home Economics also served. 11 were nurses, 10 were dietitians, two were laboratory technicians, and one was a yeoman. One of these women, Pearl Wesley Yates, is remembered with a Gold Star.

The Story of the Gold Star

If you’ve been to Memorial Union you have probably passed through Gold Star Hall which lists the names of Iowa Staters killed in World War I and subsequent wars.

The symbol of the Gold Star was chosen to represent fallen soldiers when President Wilson approved a suggestion by the Women’s Committee of National Defenses for women to wear black arm bands with a gold star for each family member who had died during the war. The campus community in the post-war period formed a not-for-profit corporation (the Memorial Union Corporation) to raise the funds for the building of the Union. Near the Union is a rock plaque inscribed “Dedicated to the men whose lives were lost in World War I.” 119 Iowa Staters killed during World War I are remembered in Gold Star Hall. You can find out more about the lives of the 119 through the informational kiosk at the Union. The kiosk is intended to provide more context and personal information about each person memorialized in the Hall. It was developed by Iowa State graduate student Stelios Vasilis Perdios and based in large part on material found in Special Collections.

Service to Veterans

Cover of Bulletin entitled "Special Training for Disabled Ex-Service Men"

Campus Bulletin detailing the special programs in place to support vocational training for WWI veterans. (RS 13/16/1, Box 2, folder 14)

Iowa State continued working with the military after the war was over by developing retraining programs for disabled veterans. These courses were designed to provide support to veterans who had not previously had college preparation. The classes were primarily focused on agriculture with topics such as “Elementary Beekeeping” and an individualized course of study in Animal Husbandry.

Veteran learning beekeeping

A selection from the Bulletin on Beekeeping training. The original caption reads “Following his completion of work in beekeeping this world war veteran took up work for himself in honey production. (RS 13/16/1, box 2, folder 14)

 

Want to Learn More?

Iowa State University Special Collections has many manuscript collections relating to World War I: http://www.add.lib.iastate.edu/spcl/collections/MSsubject.html

Our Department of Military Science Subject Files (Record Series 13/16/1) is a great resource for understanding the University’s role in the War. The collection has multiple folders of correspondence related to the World War I (as well as other wars), including several folders of correspondence with soldiers on active duty: http://www.add.lib.iastate.edu/spcl/arch/rgrp/13-16-1.html

Don’t miss our previous posts in this blog:

Read More…

Posted by: bishopae | August 26, 2014

CyPix: Freshmen Days

Yesterday morning, the sidewalks around campus were suddenly packed with walkers, bikers, and skateboarders–many toting backpacks and bags–walking purposefully, or sleepily, to their 8:00 am classes. Yes, that’s right. Like many other campuses across North America, yesterday was the first day of classes for the new academic year. For many of the students, this is their first taste of college life. They spent last Friday participating in Destination Iowa State to get to know the ISU campus and learn strategies for succeeding in college. What they probably did not have to do was take a placement exam, like these Iowa State College (ISC) students from around 1954.

Row of freshman girls wearing blouses and skirts with saddle shoes and loafers, sitting at desks in a large building, taking exams.

Incoming freshman taking their entrance examinations in the Armory during Freshman Days, circa 1954.

ISC first instituted “Freshman Day” in fall of 1926, during which entering students took a physical exam, registered for classes, and attended a convocation in State Gym. Later it was expanded to a three-day program, and included, at different times, a psychological exam and an English placement exam. In 1960, “Freshman Days” was changed to “Orientation Days,” and a summer orientation program was created in addition to the program at the start of fall term. Eventually, summer orientation became the main program. For more information on Freshman Days, see the Office of Admissions New Student Program Records (RS 7/2/5).

Special Collections would like to say “Welcome!” to the entering freshmen and transfer students, as well as “Welcome back!” to returning students. We hope to see you in 403 Parks Library to help you with all of your archival research needs, or even just curiosity!

Posted by: Whitney | August 22, 2014

Archivists Go to Washington

Last week, thousands of archivists descended upon Washington, D.C. for a joint annual meeting of the Council of State Archivists (COSA), the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (NAGARA), and the Society of American Archivists (SAA). Every four years these national organizations convene in our nation’s capital to learn and share knowledge. I was able to attend the conference as a member of SAA, as were assistant department head Laura Sullivan and one of my fellow project archivists, Stephanie Bennett. The following are, in my opinion, some highlights of the conference.

IMG_1279

The conference program for the 2014 joint annual meeting of COSA, NAGARA, and SAA.

Attending educational sessions is one major reason we attend conferences. The sessions that struck me the most this year were “Getting Things Done with Born-Digital Collections,” “Talking to Stakeholders about Electronic Records,” and “Taken for Granted: How Term Positions Affect New Professionals and the Repositories That Employ Them.” The first two discussed the challenges of electronic records, which is a hot topic in the archives profession right now. The session on term positions was particularly relevant to me since I am currently in a term position, meaning that my employment here ends after a certain amount of time. That session discussed the positive and negative impacts of short term positions, as well as possible solutions and compromises to the problems term positions create.

Some notes I took during a session. Fast writing does not make for good penmanship...

Some notes I took during a session. Speedy writing does not make for good penmanship…

Another big reason we attend conferences is to meet other archivists and to network. Happily, I found two friends from grad school right off the bat, and it wasn’t long before I found other IU-Bloomington alumni, including those that I’d never met. I also met lots of people who graduated from other schools, and it was great to learn about different experiences and their current work. I even got to meet some famous people in the world of archives, which was really exciting for a new professional. In the end, it was wonderful to catch up with old friends and meet new.

 

Yours truly in the Library of Congress reading room.

Yours truly in the Library of Congress reading room during the All-Attendee Reception.

A couple other highlights of the conference were the All-Attendee Reception and a variety show, “Raiders of the Lost Archives.” This year’s reception was held in the Library of Congress Great Hall in the Thomas Jefferson Building. That is one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen, and absolutely lives up to its hype. They opened the reading room up to us, which is only opened to the public twice a year. I could not have been more excited to be there. After the reception, a sketch show was performed – of which I was a part – back at the conference hotel. It was a reboot of “Raiders of the Lost Archives,” which was a sketch show performed in the 1980s and 1990s. The shows included skits and songs full of archival humor (yes, it’s a thing), and it was a blast to be involved. This year’s recording may be available on YouTube in the near future, but don’t judge my performance too harshly – keep in mind we had very little rehearsal and it was at the end of a long day. But really, overall I think the show went well; we received some wonderful comments and it was good fun.

The joint meeting this year was a great experience, and I hope to attend next year’s SAA Annual Meeting in Cleveland, Ohio!

Posted by: hahollinger | August 19, 2014

Perry Holden in the Field

As the corn crops continue to grow here in Iowa, we decided it would be a good time to do a little “detasseling” of the new digital Extension collection and offer you a teaser! The photo below is one of the most popular and often requested images in the collection. It features Perry G. Holden and a companion perusing a young corn crop.

holden

Holden was a leading name in agricultural education during the early 1900s. He established the Corn Train, and played a major role in the first short courses as an educator and administrator. His work with corn ultimately improved Iowa’s corn crops dramatically, and have greatly influenced how the crops are tended today. For more information on the Extension Service and P. G. Holden, visit the collections page and the Reflections on ISU Extension collection.

 

Posted by: hahollinger | August 15, 2014

Reflections on ISU Extension – New Collection!

It’s my last day as the Silos & Smokestacks intern in the ISU Special Collections! The collection has really come together. Everything is being finalized and all of the pieces I have been working and collaborating on in the past ten weeks are coming together to form a cohesive concept.

This new collection is currently comprised of 57 items. There are several reports, letters, addresses, and photographs, as well as a video. Everything is arranged by subject, but there is also a document guide that can assist in navigating the collection for those that would like a condensed experience. It features 18 highlights that outline the fundamental aspects of the early Extension Service and its impact on Iowa. One of my favorite parts is the timeline. It is in the shape of an ear of corn, and the important dates and events are presented as kernels on the ear. Hovering over each dated kernel will reveal a pop-up box of information about each date.

There are also a few items within the collection that stand out for me. The first is an advertisement from the Boys’ Working Reserve. It would have circulated during the First World War, and was aimed primarily at those who were too young to join the armed forces, but old enough to travel to work. The advertisement is still in very good condition given its age, and the historical context is really quite interesting as it pertains to both World War I and the Extension Service.

Another favorite of mine is the Diary of the Seed Corn Train. It serves as a practical record for the Corn Train – where it stopped and who lectured – but it also introduces an element of humor into the collection. Many of the entries include remarks on the crowds or notable events that stuck out to the instructors as they traveled. In reading through the entries, one gets a keen sense of the personalities of the instructors and how they interacted with each other. As these people and events are referred to in other documents, those remarks introduce that much more dimension to the overall experience.

I think this will be a great addition to the digital collections already available, and there is plenty of potential for it to be expanded in the future. Until then, have fun investigating the Digital Collections home page and the Reflections on ISU Extension collection!

Posted by: Whitney | August 12, 2014

CyPix: WOI in the 1920s

January 12th 1925

Two men in the WOI recording studio, January 12, 1925

The 1920s: age of jazz, flappers and sheiks, the Charleston, and Prohibition. It was also arguably the decade in which the Golden Age of Radio began. At the very least, radio started to become quite popular during this time. The dapper gentlemen in the photo look as though they’re getting ready to go on the air in the WOI recording studio. WOI first went on the air on April 28, 1922, with market news as its first regular feature. The station began broadcasting Cyclones football games in fall of 1922. Two long-running radio programs began in this era, Music Shop (originally introduced by Andy Woolfries) and The Book Club. The former began in 1925 and ended in 2009, while the latter began in 1927 and ended in 2006. More information on WOI radio can be found in the WOI Radio and Television Records, the WOI Radio and Television Biographical Files, these other related collections, and more photos can be found on our Flickr site.

 

Posted by: Laura | August 8, 2014

Iowa State Alumni and the Iowa State Fair

16-01-N_Extension_1332-03-01

1928 Champion Club Lamb at the Iowa State Fair (from University Photographs, box 1332)

Yesterday was the first day of the 2014 Iowa State Fair, and I’m sure quite a number of people are eagerly awaiting visiting the fairgrounds in the coming days!  The Special Collections Department here at Iowa State University has numerous collections which include the Iowa State Fair, such as images in the University Photographs and records in the University Archives documenting how Iowa State and Iowa Staters have been involved in the Iowa State Fair.

For this year’s state fair display, titled “Adventurous Iowa Staters Making Iowa Greater,” the university and ISU Alumni Association have put together an alumni wall display, which has the names of 97,002 living alumni who are currently working in Iowa.  More information on the alumni wall and other features at this year’s Iowa State display can be found in Inside Iowa State and an article by the Ames Tribune.

1948 Iowa State Fair display (from University Photographs, box 1329)

1948 Iowa State Fair display (from University Photographs, box 1329)

Interested in finding out more about Iowa State alumni?  The University Archives collects the papers of alumni, both past and present.  The contents of alumni collections contain a variety of material, including items documenting their lives before, during and after their time here at Iowa State.  These collections can contain scrapbooks, photographs, correspondence, speeches, publications, news clippings and Iowa State ephemera.  A listing of these collections, including their finding aids, is available on our website.  In addition to these larger collections, we also maintain reference files on alumni.  The reference files generally contain a folder with news clippings and other material about the alum.  Wondering if we have any folders on the alumni featured at this year’s Iowa State Fair exhibit?  Yes, we do.  These alumni include Lori Chappell, Kelly Norris, Scott Siepker, Sarah Brown Wessling, and Steve Zumbach.

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Suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt was an 1880 graduate of Iowa State.

Unable to attend the Iowa State Fair or visit the Special Collections Department?  Then take a look at our Digital Collections, which includes digitized materials of several alumni, including the George Washington Carver Digital Collection and images of the Carrie Chapman Catt suffrage buttons.

Interested in learning more about materials in the Special Collections Department related to the state fair?  Search our website for collections, or the blog for previous posts about state fair related collections.  One of these previous posts was about theatrical performances at the state fair.

 

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